Some lines in the Torah just seem like dealbreakers. Like, what do we do with this:
For the Children of Israel are slaves to Me, they are My slaves. (Lev. 25:55)
Now what kind of God wants slaves? And is there any way of redeeming the religion after it declares a thing like this? Our valiant commentators give it their best try!
This week we look at a different model for celebrating holidays - not the classic resting experience of Shabbat, but a more anxious kind of observance suggested by the lesser-known holiday, Shemini Atzeret. What could be the virtue of worry? Plenty, says 15th-century Italian commentator, Rabbi Ovadia Seforno.
Of all the forbidden idolatrous practices, the very worst is the Cult of Molech. For that god is to be pacified with child sacrifice. The Torah hates Molech, and anyone who dares to follow him is to be excommunicated forever! But there's one big problem with this law... Molech isn't the only one who asked for a child offering.
What is cultural judaism, exactly? So many Jews today identify as culturally Jewish, but would be hard-pressed to say exactly what they mean by that. Surprisingly, the Torah is also concerned with the question of cultural Judaism. A deep dive into one verse in this week's parsha reveals that, according to commentators, it isn't enough to just be religious; a Jew must also defend Jewish culture.